Purdue News

August 5, 2005

Back-to-school technology: From need it to leave it

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –College-bound freshmen would do well to check what's available on campus before investing too much on computer gear, says a technology teaching and learning specialist at Purdue University.

"Yes, it's best to have your own computer – and a laptop is the best overall for flexibility – but don't buy specialty software until you know what's needed and what discounts are available," said John Campbell, associate vice president at Information Technology at Purdue. "Some universities like Purdue have computer stores with special student prices for hardware and software."

What hardware and software features should students look for?

• Wireless capability: Allows use in favorite hangouts anywhere on campus at schools like Purdue.

• Basic productivity software that includes word processing, spreadsheet, PowerPoint, etc.

• USB drives: Provide fast, easy transport of large amounts of information in a plug-in, thumb-sized device that can also serve as a key ring.

• Security software that protects against viruses, adware and spyware.

"It's a new world," Campbell said about the need to protect a computer from being invaded via network connections by software that compromises privacy or destroys the computer's ability to function properly.

Items he recommends leaving at home or on the shelf include:

• Floppy disks and CD-ROMS: Less compatibility and capacity than USB drives.

• File servers: The entertainment industry continues to crack down on illegal file sharing and copyright violations.

Many universities have joined Purdue by offering inexpensive access to large online music catalogs. Similar movie services reduce the need for a digital video player or recorder.

Campbell recommends having a digital camera for class assignments and sending images to friends and family. Some schools like Purdue are beginning to loan students digital cameras and camcorders for little or no cost.

To protect computers, cameras and other technology against theft, Campbell recommends homeowner's or renter's insurance coverage.

CONTACT: Campbell, (765) 494-1289, john-campbell@purdue.edu

Writer: Jim Schenke, (765) 494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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